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epic  

Philip Hardie

At the summit of the ancient hierarchy of genres, epic narrates in hexameter verse the deeds of gods, heroes, and men The authority of Homer, the name given to the composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, ensures that the forms and conventions of the Homeric poems are determinative for the whole of the Greco-Roman tradition of epic. From an early date, the production and reading of epic poems was accompanied by intensive scholarly and critical activity. Over the centuries, numerous epics were written on both legendary and historical subjects, as the genre responded to changing aesthetic and ideological conditions. In Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid successfully established for itself an authority comparable to that of the Homeric poems, and all later Latin epics place themselves within a Virgilian tradition. Epic in Greek and Latin continues to flourish in late antiquity, when Christian writers appropriate its forms to propagate their own messages and praise their own heroes.

Article

careers, poetic, Latin  

Joseph Farrell

The idea that a writer’s works form the record of a clearly defined career is a familiar but relatively understudied aspect of ancient literary history. In Greek literature, relevant motifs appear already in Homer (in the Iliad, Achilles’ self-referential singing of klea andron (9.189) in combination with Telemachus’s defense of Phemius’s novel, post-Iliadic theme in the Odyssey (1.345–352), and Hesiod (initiated by the Muses at Theogony 22–34 and at Works and Days 650–662 previously victorious—with Theogony?—in a singing contest at the funeral games of Amphidamas). But thinkers of the archaic and classical periods generally considered a poet’s work in a single genre as an expression of his immanent character, and not as the result of a career choice. Beginning with Thucydides and Xenophon, however, retired military men and politicians establish a normative career pattern in the genre of history. But in the Hellenistic period, as poets cultivate expertise in many genres (polyeideia), the career motif begins to come in to view.

Article

Ilias Latina  

Steven J. Green

The Ilias Latina is a short poem composed in Latin hexameter that retells Homer’s Iliad. It is generally attributed to Baebius Italicus and dated to c. 54–65 ce. The analysis of the poem reveals how the Homeric Iliadic material has been reimagined to fit Roman, post-Virgilian and Neronian sensibilities, and to showcase the human emotions underlying the Trojan War.The Ilias Latina is a poem composed in Latin hexameter that retells Homer’s Iliad in 1,070 verses. Most commonly referred to as Ilias Latina [Latin Iliad], a title coined by Emil Baehrens in his 1881 edition, the manuscripts refer to the poem variously as Epitome Iliados Homeri [Epitome of the Iliad of Homer], Liber Homeri [Book of Homer], or Homerus (de bello Troiano) [Homer (concerning the Trojan war)]. It is popularly attributed to Baebius Italicus, following the manuscript Vindobonensis Latinus 3509 [Bebii Italici] and taking note of an apparent acrostic created (with small emendation) from the first letter of the opening and closing eight verses of the poem: .